Wall Street Journal Again Blames Talk Radio for GOP Infighting

Howie Carr
Howie Carr

BOSTON – The editorial page of The Wall Street Journal has a big problem with talk radio.

Once again, the media’s leading flacks for illegal aliens and the non-Republican wing of the Republican party are pointing the finger at Rush Limbaugh et al for the ongoing turmoil in the GOP.

It’s all our fault, and I say “our” as a syndicated PM-drive radio talk-show host with 25 affiliates, eight of which are in New Hampshire. Every fourth year that fact makes me a semi-big fish in the Granite State pond in which the WSJ’s anointed candidate, Juan Ellis Bush, is being devoured.

In case you missed it, the pom-pom waving cheerleaders of the WSJ hissed Friday that the congressional Republicans’ current internecine feuding is the fault of “refuseniks.” You know, that “minority” in the GOP who spread the “contagion,” the contagion apparently being the argument that the House Republican conference should aspire to more than merely serving as the tax-collector for the welfare state, as Newt Gingrich once put it.

According to the Journal’s pontificating pundits, the impasse over the House speakership, as well as the implosion of the GOP, is in no way connected to the RINOs’ playing footsy with Barack Obama these last seven years.

Au contraire, everything that has gone wrong for Jeb Bush and his congressional compadres is the fault of talk radio, for playing audiotape of the former Florida governor swooning as he describes illegal aliens as “valedictorians” who bring “vitality” to the United States with their crime wave, which Jeb describes as “acts of love.”

According to the Journal, radio talk-show hosts are the ones wrecking the party–Rush and Sean and Mark and Michael and Laura and me and another dozen or so of the usual suspects. The Journal called us out yet again Friday, along with a couple of unindicted co-conspirators thrown in for good measure.

“The anti-establishment is its own establishment,” the Journal harrumphed, “with its own elites who serve the self-interest of cable-news ratings, talk-radio market shares and high-dollars fundraising for Washington-based think tanks and political action committees.”

Cable TV? You mean, like Fox News Channel? Somewhere Donald Trump is chuckling. And PACs? Are you referring to the K Street grandees who ponied up more than $100 million for Bush, which has enabled the pride of Kennebunkport to run dead even with Mike Huckabee in seventh place among GOP voters in Ohio, with a whopping four percent of the vote?

The Journal just tossed in the others the way the feds traditionally do, to add weight to an otherwise underwhelming indictment–“parties known and unknown to the grand jury.” What’s really bugging the Journal is those of us behind the microphone, and those of you who listen to us. This obsession has been gnawing at them for decades now.

As early as 1985, the Journal was editorializing: “We propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders.”

And now there are–open borders, that is. How’s that working out for you, Paul Gigot? It’s working out splendidly for the Democrats and the welfare-industrial complex, not so much for the late Kate Steinle and thousands of murdered American citizens like her.

Last year, the Journal was fulminating as usual about Congress’s failure to enact “immigration reform,” also known as amnesty. They trotted out their usual bogeyman: the House GOP’s “fear of talk radio backlash.” As if the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor months later had nothing to do with his total disconnect from the GOP voters of Virginia. David Brat’s upset victory was just another dirty trick by talk radio.

“It’s not even an editorial,” Rush Limbaugh noted with disbelief at the Journal’s February 2014 screed. “This thing is a rant, this Wall Street Journal editorial.”

It’s not only the Journal’s editorial page taking shots at talk radio. In February of this year, the WSJ printed a news story about advertisers “fleeing” the nation’s second-most-listened-to radio format (after country) following the Sandra Fluke controversy and the subsequent George Soros-flavored “boycott.”

These greatly exaggerated reports of talk radio’s demise come from a newspaper owned by Dow Jones, a company Rupert Murdoch bought for $5.6 billion in 2007. Two years later, his News Corp. had to take a 50 percent write down in valuation–to $2.8 billion. Whatever’s happened to talk radio, none of us has ever lost half our book value in 24 months.

Then there was the WSJ editorial two months ago excoriating talk radio for promoting “Trumpism.” Of course, talk radio could be touting The Donald for only one reason.

“Some of this is pure commercial self-interest,” the hagiographers of John Kasich and Chris Christie tut-tutted, “an attempt to boost Arbitron ratings.”

Arbitron? Hey, WSJ, here’s a Breaking News Alert for you. There is no more Arbitron. It was bought by Nielsen in 2013, for $1.26 billion. The story ran September 30 of that year in one of your sister publications–the New York Post.

Makes you wonder: if this is how much the nation’s leading business journal comprehends about an industry virtually everyone (except them) is familiar with, how much can you trust the paper to report accurately on more obscure sectors of the economy?

If the WSJ is so knowledgeable about the radio business, perhaps they should start their own network. Oh, that’s right, they did… and it folded, last December. You might call them the Air America of the right, if only the Journal were on the right, instead of the left.

Even more absurd is the Journal’s inference that everyone in talk radio is marching in lockstep. Do they not know that Rush still occasionally refers to Bill O’Reilly, his erstwhile midday radio rival, as “Ted Baxter”? Michael Savage sneers at his PM drive competitor Sean Hannity as “the leprechaun” and dismisses Limbaugh as “the golfer.” Without naming his fellow Cumulus host, Levin snidely remarks of Savage and his beloved toy poodle Teddy, “If you’re looking for a discussion of the bowel movements of the host’s dog, you’ve tuned in to the wrong program.”

And then there’s Glenn Beck. We’re all supposedly in the satchel for Trump, but Beck must not have gotten the memo. Which is probably why Trump called him out last week as a “nut job.”

I don’t know all this because I’m a made member of the talk-radio crime family. I know this because I’m a talk-radio listener. Is it asking too much for the Journal editorial page to assign some intern the arduous task of actually listening to the radio format they claim is wrecking the GOP?

And by the way, how exactly do hosts Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade fit into the WSJ’s tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories? Hannity had a radio gig in Atlanta long before Fox was started, and Kilmeade is nobody’s idea of a RINO, despite his morning duties on Fox & Friends. If only Arbitron were still around to sort out these conundrums.

If you truly want monolithic opinion, forget talk radio and go to any publication owned by News Corp. I love the New York Post, but the fact is, they’ve been promoting Trump’s demise even longer than the WSJ. When Trump ripped John McCain’s war record, the Post’s front-page splash the next day was “Don Voyage.”

Then there’s the Journal’s weekend tabloid, Barron’s. This week’s page-one headline: “Donald Trump: The Art of Baloney.”

As for the Journal, I guess it’s too busy ripping talk radio to actually report on the real race for president. Take crack op-ed columnist Daniel Henninger–please. In late July, he compared Trump to the Music Man, predicting that “he’ll skip town.”

Last week, in an even lamer piece, Henninger demanded that Trump “should retire.” Apparently, that would pave the way for Juan Ellis Bush to ascend from his current seventh place in the polls to the GOP throne Henninger so ardently believes is his by divine right. Then Juan Ellis Bush could be officially crowned as the designated loser to Hillary Clinton next November.

On behalf of talk radio, I would like to propose a truce to the Journal, of the sort Donald Trump and Roger Ailes have brokered more than once in recent months. To paraphrase Harry S. Truman–a Democrat–here is the deal I am prepared to offer the champagne-swilling, limousine-loving, Hamptons-haunting Jeb Bush bumkissers of Sixth Avenue.

If The Wall Street Journal will stop lying about us, we’ll stop telling the truth about you.

Howie Carr’s new novel about the Boston underworld, Killers, is available everywhere. You can listen to his radio show weekdays from 3-7 pm EST.


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